Northamptonshire pub suffers as road closures and 12.5-mile diversion discourages punters

A Northamptonshire pub owner has blamed roadworks for a drop in customers and wants the public to know that his business is open as usual.

Saturday, 12th August 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 12:23 pm
Jim Kay

Jim Kay, owner of The Plough on Main Road in Shutlanger, reckons he has taken just half of the usual takings for this time of year because of the roadworks near Heathencote which have forced 24 hour road closures.

Punters arriving from Towcester who wish to visit the pub are directed to follow a 12.5 mile diversion down the A5 to Old Stratford, and back up the A508 to Stoke Bruerne to gain access to The Plough.

Mr Kay said: "A lot of customers did not have any idea about the roadworks. A lot of people have been put off."

The official diversion route is about 12.5 miles long

He added: "We are a successful restaurant but it's not enough to get people here."

Matters could become worse for Mr Kay when work begins on the nearby Blisworth Road on August 14, meaning the pub would be surrounded by roadworks and potential road closures.

Some customers have told staff at The Plough they turned around when seeing the road closure signs because they assumed it meant the pub was shut.

The pub even had to ring a group of eight who had booked a table to check whether they were still coming, after they failed to show up on time, thinking the diversions had led them to turn around.

The Plough is on Main Road in Shutlanger

Other groups have cancelled reservations after being told of the closures and diversion.

Another set of roadworks on the A5 near the Towcester Racecourse have also caused problems by virtue of being operational between 8pm and 6am.

This has meant customers leaving the pub after 8pm have had to take an alternative route than the one they arrived on because the diversion on the A5 partly shuts.

Regulations have meant Mr Kay has not been allowed to put up the pub's own signage informing the public that business was open as usual.

The official diversion route is about 12.5 miles long

The roadworks also have a knock-on effect. With less people coming in for food Mr Kay has to order less produce from his suppliers as well as cut some of his staff's hours.

With work set to continue until the second week of September, Mr Kay is annoyed because he believed his business has missed out on the usual amount of summer holiday customers.

Duncan Shaw, director in charge for Persimmon Homes Midlands, said: “We are working with Jackson Civil Engineering to deliver new infrastructure for Towcester Grange. It has been agreed that additional signs will be installed to show that the Plough is open as usual.”

The Plough is on Main Road in Shutlanger